Page 1

Wide-Open Spaces and Bold Heritage Panhandle’s Historic Courthouses Reflect Region’s Colorful Character


WINTER 2017 TEXAS HISTORICAL COMMISSION John L. Nau, III, Chairman John W. Crain, Vice Chairman Robert K. Shepard, Secretary

Earl Broussard, Jr. Monica Burdette Thomas M. Hatfield Wallace B. Jefferson Tom Perini Gilbert E. “Pete” Peterson Judy C. Richardson Daisy Sloan White

Executive Director: Mark Wolfe

Medallion Staff: Chris Florance Division Director Andy Rhodes Managing Editor Judy Jensen Senior Graphic Design Coordinator

ISSN 0890-7595 Vol. 55, No. 1

VISIT US ON THE WEB Learn more about the real places telling the real stories of Texas. The Texas Heritage Trails Program’s travel resource The THC’s 21 state historic properties Friends of the Texas Historical Commission



4 Maintaining History

Courthouse Upkeep Requires Successful Planning, Partnerships.

10 Squared Away

Town Square Initiative Combines Successful THC Programs.


6 Bold Heritage

Panhandle’s Historic Courthouses Reflect Region’s Colorful Character.

ON THE COVER: The Donley County Courthouse in Clarendon. Photo: Andy Rhodes.


Since its inception in 1999, the THC’s Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program has significantly contributed to state and local economies.










Some of the most impactful projects at the Texas Historical Commission involve the preservation of the Lone Star State’s historic county courthouses. County courthouses—the anchors of town squares across the state—have long been a gathering place for Texas communities. Many courthouses trace their roots to a time when growing areas proudly constructed these magnificent structures as symbols of prosperity and progress. In Texas’ early days, designating a county seat was considered a measure of prestige. Town founders often donated land in prominent locations in the community center to best serve its citizens. As the primary destinations for business and commerce, courthouses were essential to the economic expansion of many Texas communities. To this day, they serve vital roles as gathering places for festivals and as destinations for heritage travelers. Most courthouse squares play host to unique festivals and celebrations. From military ceremonies to musical performances to food festivals, courthouse lawns are essential gathering places with historic courthouses as picturesque backdrops. Many of these structures remain vital due to their involvement with the Texas Historical Commission’s Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program. There are more than 240 buildings eligible for the program statewide. To date, we’ve funded 67 full restorations. We have awarded 93 preservation grants, and there are 74 counties that need state funding for work at their courthouses. These structures have enormous potential for our economy, especially as magnets for heritage tourists. Tourism in the state is a $69 billion annual industry, with visitor spending directly supporting 653,000 jobs in 2015 and generating $6.2 billion in state and local taxes. Our historic courthouses are a draw for heritage tourists, who account for 10 percent of travelers in our state. These travelers spend nearly $175 per day on average—more than the typical tourist—amounting to $2.26 billion in annual visitor spending in Texas. It’s heartening to keep in mind that many of these historic courthouses are the same structures our predecessors built so many years ago. These landmarks embody the spirit of the Lone Star State, representing decades of celebrations, elections, marriages, and most of all, freedom and democracy for Texans. With the Texas flag proudly waving above them, our courthouses have endured the test of time and must continue to remain as strong as our state. Sincerely,

John L. Nau, III Chair, Texas Historical Commission





Maintaining History Successful Courthouse Upkeep Requires Planning, Partnerships, Commitment By Andy Rhodes Managing Editor, The Medallion Maintaining a historic courthouse can be similar to household upkeep. But instead of scheduling a new paint job for the front porch and window frames, there may be a clock tower or turret to consider. Homeowners might replace a hot water heater after 20 years, while courthouses may need a new ground-source heat pump. The point being, if you’re aware of the cyclical needs of your structure’s components and systems, you can extend its longevity while preventing costly replacements and repairs. Similarly, the Texas Historical Commission (THC) realized the need to create a separate maintenancerelated program to complement its Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program (THCPP). The THC developed the Texas Courthouse Stewardship Program in 2005 to prevent the newly restored state landmarks from returning to a state of decay or deterioration. With 63 courthouses fully restored, the THCPP has played a significant role ensuring that the restored structures and the records they protect are sustainable for generations to come. “These buildings need to be cared for after the restoration to prevent them from falling back into disrepair,” says THCPP Director Sharon Fleming. “It’s important to remember—for any building—stewardship is an ongoing effort.” As part of the stewardship program, THC staff architects help counties address issues by offering professional advice on how to best preserve the TEXAS HISTORICAL COMMISSION

building. Useful information is also available on the program’s web page ( These valuable tools allow county staff to plan in advance for budgeting and construction projects. The THC’s courthouse architectural staff can also assist counties with The Bosque County Courthouse has benefitted from the Courthouse Stewardship Program.


developing a cyclical maintenance plan for immediate and long-term care of their historic buildings and sites. This assistance has been bolstered by important statewide partnerships. The THC and the Texas Land Title Association (TLTA), a statewide member-based trade organization for title agents, developed a workshop series in 2007 for the stewardship program. This initiative, arising from Senate Bill 1496 and passed into law in 2005, provides assistance and training for county officials and facilities managers with an emphasis on a commitment to routine maintenance programs. “I want to thank the Texas Historical Commission for the important work they’ve done in revitalizing our treasured Texas courthouses—their passion and dedication to this project is a true gift to the citizens of our state,” said TLTA President James Dudley. “The Texas Land Title Association is grateful for the continued opportunity to partner with them in providing Texas counties with the tools they need to be good stewards of these beautiful buildings that are the heart and soul of our communities across the state.” The TLTA-sponsored workshops, available for counties involved with the THCPP, offer an opportunity for dialogue between county representatives at specialized sessions, often helping to solve similar technical issues. Previous workshop session titles include Courthouse Security, Keeping Doors


“The Texas Land Title Association’s tireless support for the preservation and conservation of Texas’ historic courthouses benefits all Texans, both culturally and economically.” —Mark Wolfe Executive Director, Texas Historical Commission

tion, the TLTA received has worked in the county courthouse the THC’s 2015 for several decades, and his passion Governor’s Award for for the structure played a key role in Historic Preservation. its successful restoration and ongoing “The Texas Land maintenance. Title Association’s “I’ve been working here 33 years, By participating in the Texas Courthouse Stewardship program, San Augustine County officials and employees can seek free tireless support for so I know this place pretty well by professional advice from the THC’s preservation architects. the preservation and now,” he said. “It’s a beautiful old conservation of Texas’ building, and I really enjoy having and Windows in Shape, and Making historic courthouses benefits all Texans, the opportunity to make sure it stays Time for Preventive Maintenance both culturally and economically,” said that way.” H While Putting Out Everyday Fires. THC Executive Director Mark Wolfe Workshop attendees typically include a at the October 2016 ceremony. “When For more information about the THC’s facility manager and an elected official; we preserve our courthouses and other courthouse program, visit thc.texas. as funding allows, hotel and travel precious state historic resources, we gov/thcpp. To learn more about the costs may be reimbursed for up to two generate significant economic benefit to TLTA, visit participants per county. our state and residents.” So far, the THC-TLTA partnership In 2008, the THC has resulted in a dozen workshops introduced the Texas representing over 140 training hours to Courthouse Stewardship more than 500 attendees, including four Awards to recognize regional workshops throughout the state counties that have in 2015 and 2016. established exemplary “From the beginning of this project, stewardship practices we felt our mutual affinity for these to maintain their wonderful buildings could lead to a courthouses in restored collaboration that would benefit the condition. The TLTA people of Texas,” said TLTA Executive has sponsored this Vice President and CEO Leslie Midgely. award since the “Our continued commitment to this program originated. important project is an additional way Potter County for our industry to assist the counties we received last year’s award, serve throughout the state thanks in part to the of Texas.” dedicated efforts of The Erath County Courthouse in Stephenville has received In recognition of its important Mike Head, the county’s assistance from THC Stewardship Program staff about developing contributions to courthouse preservafacilities manager. Head a cyclical maintenance plan and preservation checklists. WINTER 2017





Travelers don’t always associate a Texas getaway with Inside, Head points to the elevator, where a collection of the Panhandle area. But they should. Beyond natural and ranching brands adorn the doors. They represent dozens of cultural wonders like Palo Duro Canyon and Route 66, the cattle ranches, mostly in Potter County. region boasts a collection of restored historic courthouses Other interior highlights include the main courtroom, unmatched across the state. From an asymmetrical Romanwith its original floor tile, aluminum-colored trim, and esque Revival structure to a Beaux Arts beauty to a Pueblo vertical design elements to maximize the Art Deco aesthetic. Deco courthouse, these buildings aptly represent the unique For the restoration, Potter County worked with the Austinspirit of the Texas Panhandle. based firm Architexas, which primarily used local contracThe busiest and mosttors to help remove unsightly visited of the bunch is the dropped ceilings and an outPotter County Courthouse dated fire slide. The impressive in downtown Amarillo. results garnered accolades Completed in 1932, the and recognition from local eight-story structure is an and statewide organizations, architectural focal point, and is including a recent THC referred to as “Pueblo Deco” architectural stewardship style—combining geometric award for maintaining the ornamentation and design building’s restored condition. features from the Art Deco and Head is proud of the Pueblo Revival movements in work he and his colleagues the Southwest. contributed to the restoration, The building received a specifically recalling a minor complete restoration in 2012 event from three decades thanks to assistance from the ago that ultimately played Texas Historical Commission’s a significant role in the The Potter County Courthouse restoration enhanced the building’s (THC) Texas Historic project’s success. original Art Deco-inspired architectural details, seen in this light fixture and stairwell. Courthouse Preservation “In 1985, I was taking a Program (THCPP). The file cabinet to auction when I program also provided realized something was still valuable preservation guidance after a January 2017 flood rolling around inside there making noise,” Head says. “So, caused damage to the courthouse. I looked in there and found it was the original blueprint Potter County Facilities Director Mike Head was designs for the building. I held on to those for a long time— instrumental in the original restoration process, offering they came in mighty handy when we did the restoration.” valuable insight about all facets of the historic building. The courthouse is among many heritage attractions As he surveys the exterior walls, Head mentions some of in Amarillo, where travelers discover a fascinating blend his favorite elements of the unique Pueblo Deco structure. of proud agricultural heritage with unexpected flair adorning A bas relief design on the façade depicts prickly pear cactus historic buildings in the downtown area. Maintaining pads and includes an uncommon cartouche feature (an ovalthis notable sense of place is a primary goal of Center shaped object associated with ancient Egyptian design). He City of Amarillo, the 25-year-old nonprofit organization also notes the elongated longhorn over one of the entrances, that serves as the local Main Street Program. Beth Duke, adding that it was included to honor regional ranching icon Center City’s executive director, takes pride in local efforts Charles Goodnight. to protect history. “At night we have “Potter County is a leader in historic preservation,” dramatic lighting on she says. “Saving our Santa Fe Building (in 2000) was a these walls, and that big part of downtown’s revitalization. It led to the push to makes the courthouse restore the courthouse.” shine like a beacon—it Duke adds that this support for local history is on full has a real temple of display during High Noon on the Square, an annual free justice appearance,” he concert series held on the courthouse lawn each Wednesday proudly explains. during the summer. The series is in its 22nd year, and averages 500 attendees each week. Another historical attraction in Amarillo is Old Route 66 ( A half-mile stretch of 6th Avenue just west of downtown contains an impressive collection of 1930s-era buildings, including cafes, service stations, and WINTER 2017



motor lodges now housing restaurants and antique shops. started with two heifers and a bull calf, and the Goodnight Notable destinations are the 1946 Golden Light Café and Herd grew from there.” Cantina (, 806-374-9237) featuring Lovell adds that Charles Goodnight had a lifelong tasty burgers and live connection with famed Quahada Comanche Chief Quanah music on weekends, Parker, beginning with his involvement in the 1860 raid and the venerable south of Wichita Falls that recaptured Quanah’s mother Sixth Street Antique Cynthia Ann. Decades later, he often hosted Quanah at his Mall (6thstreet home, where the two men discussed ranching over supper., 806“He had extreme respect for Quanah,” Lovell says. 374-0959) housed in “Charles invited him to the ranch to hunt buffalo one a National Registerlast time because he knew his traditional way of life listed building. was disappearing.” Maintaining the Route 66 theme Corralling Panhandle Courthouses is Cadillac Ranch (10 Heritage tourists can experience a memorable getaway by miles west of downtaking a few extra days to explore lightly visited historic town Amarillo on the courthouses and cultural attractions in the eastern part south side of I-40) of the Panhandle, which represents just a portion of the The Cadillac Ranch art installation west of a permanent art THC’s 52-county Texas Plains Trail Region. Amarillo features 10 historic Cadillacs in a field. installation of 10 From Amarillo, head southeast to nearby Clarendon to historic Cadillacs buried nose-down in a field. The cars, see the remarkable Donley County Courthouse (co.donley. representing the golden age of American automobiles on, 806-874-3436). Completed in 1891, the striking the Mother Road, were positioned at the same angle as Romanesque Revival structure immediately draws the pyramids in Egypt and are covered with thick layers attention with its tomato-red roof, bold archways, and of graffiti, which is encouraged. cylindrical turrets. Adding to the visual interest is the fact While in the Amarillo area, visitors should also make that each side of the façade boasts a different design— a point to visit the Charles Goodnight Historical Center a rare architectural feature among Texas courthouses. (, 806-944-5591), located 40 A tornado damaged the courthouse in the 1930s, miles east of the city. The legendary rancher’s “Castle on the resulting in the removal of the third floor and tower. The Prairie,” a charming 1887 home that served as Goodnight’s THCPP assisted with its full reconstruction in 2003. Visitors command center for the Panhandle’s first cattle ranch, is are encouraged to explore the interior, where they’ll find available for tours. The THC assisted with its 2012 restorafascinating period details, including an intricately painted tion by providing a Texas Preservation Trust Fund grant. vault door, extraordinary woodwork, and vivid green walls. Operated by the Armstrong County Museum, While in Clarendon, travelers can learn about regional the Goodnight Historical Center is a testament to the history at the Saints Roost Museum (saintsroostmuseum. influence Charles and com, 806-874-2746), his wife Molly had on referencing a term ranching’s regional and cowboys muttered in the national heritage. late 1800s to describe “Molly played an the bar-less city. Durintegral role in Charles’ ing the summer, catch life and the history of this a movie at the classic area. She helped build a 1950s Sandell Drive-In community by focusing theater (12 S. Center Dr., on education and making 806-874-0685). sure their home was From there, head open to everyone—from north 30 miles to cowboys to senators,” McLean, home of the says Amy Lovell, Devil’s Rope and Route executive director of 66 Museum (barbwirethe Armstrong County 806-779Museum.“She also 2225, reopens March helped save the last 1). The museum offers Left: Legendary rancher Charles Goodnight slept on this porch, now a featured of the southern herd attraction at his namesake museum. Right: Shamrock’s U-Drop Inn is one of the most a fascinating glimpse in of American Bison. She iconic structures on historic Route 66. the rear-view mirror, with TEXAS HISTORICAL COMMISSION


About 30 miles northwest of Wheeler is Miami, home of the 1913 Classical Revival Roberts County Courthouse, restored through the THCPP and rededicated in 2012. The district courtroom features beautifully restored plaster and stenciled detailing; other architectural highlights include a mosaic-patterned floor, restored marble wainscot, and colorful plaster walls. While in Miami, learn regional history at the Roberts County Museum (806-868-3291), housed in an 1888 railroad depot that was used for nearly a century. The museum features historical photos and artifacts, including an exhibit dedicated to a nearby archeological discovery of five mammoth remains and items associated with the 12,000-year-old Clovis culture. From Miami, travelers can make a quick 20-minute drive to Pampa, where they’ll find a remarkably restored courthouse and unexpected musical history. The 1930 Beaux Arts-style Gray County Courthouse (co.gray.tx, 806-669-8007) represents a period of Panhandle prosperity that coincided with the fashionable City Beautiful movement, resulting in its attractive ornamentation with practical design. Due to its relatively young age, the courthouse had not experienced significant alterations, resulting in a restoration that mainly addressed deteriorated windows and outdated mechanical and electrical systems.

The Gray County Courthouse in Pampa was restored to its original Beaux Arts appearance thanks to the THC’s courthouse preservation program.

vintage road signs, hundreds of mementos from the golden age of automobile travel, and artwork from tourist traps (the enormous metal rattlesnake is a highlight). The attached barbed wire, aka “devil’s rope,” portion of the building is similarly intriguing, with thousands of varieties of metal fencing from across the world. While in McLean, be sure to snap a few photos of the classic 1928 cottage-style Phillips 66 station on old Route 66 at the western edge of town. Just east of McLean is Shamrock, home of perhaps the most impressive Route 66 building in Texas. The U-Drop Inn and Conoco Station (, 806-256-2516) is a remarkable 1936 Art Deco landmark with a steeple-like spire that advertised food, gas, and lodging—three essential elements for Route 66 travelers. Refurbished to its original glory, the building now houses a visitor information center. From Shamrock, travelers can head 15 miles north to Wheeler, where another notable courthouse awaits discovery. Constructed in 1925, the Classical Revival Wheeler County Courthouse (co.wheeler.tx, 806-826-5544) offered THC staff in the early 2000s a rare opportunity during the THCPP-assisted restoration. “Those architects just couldn’t believe it when they saw the pristine shape this building was in,” says Wheeler County Clerk Margaret Forman. “Ours was unique because it didn’t have all the additions and modifications that so many others had over the years. We just had to update the courtroom a bit, take care of some floors and windows, and add a new mechanical system.” The courtroom is especially impressive, with a restored historic balcony and relocation of an elevator. The original furniture and detailing were refurbished by local contractors. “When they took the benches out of the district courtroom, they found the name Darby had been written under one of them,” Forman recalls. “Well, Darby is my son, so that brought back a lot of fun memories. He used to play under those seats when I started working here back in the ‘70s. This restoration is a matter of pride to me—I love this old building.” WINTER 2017

Pampa’s Woodie Guthrie Folk Music Center honors the place where the folk legend learned to play guitar.

While in Pampa, be sure to visit the Woodie Guthrie Folk Music Center (, 806664-0824), housed in the former Fisher Drug store where Guthrie learned to play guitar. A THC marker details Guthrie’s formative years in Pampa (1929–35), where he worked as a soda jerk at the drug store, spent countless hours at the local library, and honed his musical skills before heading to California in 1937 during the Dust Bowl. H To learn about other significant heritage sites in the area, download a free copy of the THC’s Texas Plains Trail Region travel guide at




Squared Away New THC Preservation Initiative Offers Best of Courthouse, Main Street Programs By Emily Koller THC Planner, Town Square Initiative The Town Square Initiative (TSI), Nearly two years after its inception, attract investors who value unique a relatively new Texas Historical the TSI offers an array of advanced historical qualities. Commission (THC) program, is already revitalization services that address In 2014, Mount Vernon Main Street experiencing results from its efforts to the challenges of turning vacant agreed to participate as a TSI pilot city meld beneficial elements from two of the and underutilized properties into upon completion of the downtown agency’s marquee programs. vibrant, economically viable projects. Franklin County Courthouse restoration The THC’s Texas Historic An interdisciplinary team comprised project. The TSI team worked with Courthouse Preservation Program of an architect, planner, and economic community members to complete a and Texas Main Street Program assist development specialist work closely downtown strategy report with a goal of communities with contributions by local with communities to provide filling vacancies and creating a diverse, governments and the state. The TSI is project assistance. sustainable business mix. uniquely positioned After a series of to leverage these “We’re hoping communities will take advantage of our open houses, wellinvestments in Texas attended presentations, agency’s preservation expertise in historic downtown communities that have conversations with participated in the owners, and areas. These services can provide an impressive impact property THC’s courthouse and a consumer survey, Main Street programs. on local economies.” the TSI drafted a Using the historic highly visual set of —Brad Patterson preservation-based recommendations. These Director, THC Community Heritage Development Division suggestions focused on economic development approach of the public improvements, Main Street program, a coordinated approach the TSI is designed to business recruitment, to provide morekey policy changes, and specialized services to a catalyst redevelopment cities with recently proposal for one of restored courthouses the premier, but as or other major public yet vacant, downtown investments. buildings. These “Ideally, this efforts, coupled with will spur additional the active engagement redevelopment projects of several new families and further invigorate The restored Franklin County Courthouse committed to investing is the center of activity in downtown downtowns,” says Brad in downtown and along Mount Vernon. Patterson, director of the historic Bankhead the THC’s Community Highway, helped establish the strategy This expert advice focuses on three Heritage Development Division, which report’s vision. primary areas: conceptual design and oversees the program. “We’re hoping The momentum created by that financial feasibility studies for vacant communities will take advantage of our process instilled confidence for the new agency’s preservation expertise in historic buildings; coordinated downtown investors and entrepreneurs. Today, five planning strategies to facilitate downtown areas. These services can spaces on the square documented as downtown investment; and market provide an impressive impact on vacant during the planning process are exposure of downtown properties to local economies.” TEXAS HISTORICAL COMMISSION

10 4


Above: Watermelon Mills Coffee Shop is one of Mount Vernon’s recent downtown success stories thanks to the Town Square Initiative. Below: Another TSI-assisted rehabilitation project in Mount Vernon is Steve O’s Pizza & Pub.

now either occupied with impressive new businesses, or undergoing substantial rehabilitations with grand openings in the works. Mount Vernon Main Street Manager Carolyn Teague, a longtime resident and business owner, recalled a recent evening downtown, when the courthouse square buzzed with life and activity. Storefronts were lit; diners enjoyed pizza, beer, and music at a new restaurant; friends chatted outside a quaint coffee shop; and kids ran and played in the plaza—all with a backdrop of the recently restored 1912 Franklin County Courthouse. “If you’d told me it would look like this a year and a half ago, I wouldn’t have believed you,” she said. Mount Vernon Main Street members are especially proud of several recent projects that draw residents and visitors downtown and add to the city’s vibrancy. Watermelon Mills Coffee Shop is housed in a beautifully restored corner building that reactivates the southeast side of the square, which lost several buildings to fire WINTER 2017

years ago. The shop—completed by new Mount Vernon residents Shannon and Greg Ostertag—celebrated its grand opening in September 2016. The TSI also assisted with the planning of Steve O’s Pizza and Pub, a brick oven pizza restaurant in the historic Fleming Building that opened in May 2016. The business provided a much-needed evening gathering spot for drinks, conversation, and entertainment.

The M.L. Edwards Store, located in a historic two-story building on the west side of the square, is also undergoing a complete rehabilitation by the Ostertags. It will reopen later this year with a café, home goods store, first-floor commercial kitchen, and second-floor event space. In addition, the Mount Vernon Main Street Program is actively working on two other projects identified in the downtown strategy report. These include the pursuit of a National Register Historic District designation to facilitate additional tax credit projects, and a public space design for the historic Smokey Row commercial area. “We’re proud to have introduced the Town Square Initiative to play a part in bringing people together to craft a vision for Mount Vernon’s downtown,” Patterson said. “We’re hoping we can bring this beneficial program to other communities across Texas to help spur preservation-based projects and smallscale, high-quality development.” H

For additional information about the TSI, visit




Preservation Power

Recently Restored Courthouses Celebrate Dedicated Work at Rededication Ceremonies By Andy Rhodes The Medallion Managing Editor When counties are accepted into the Texas Historical Commission’s (THC) Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program (THCPP), their vision of a fully restored building is a driving force for the years of work ahead. That dream continues to serve as motivation while architectural plans are approved, construction takes place, and final touches are made. This patience is fully rewarded on rededication day. Two Texas counties— Throckmorton and Navarro—recently experienced the fulfillment of reaching their courthouse restoration goals. And both celebrated their historical legacies with memorable rededication ceremonies. In July 2016, Navarro County rededicated its impressive 1905 Classical Revival-style courthouse on a hot summer afternoon tempered by a welcoming breeze. More than 200 people gathered in Corsicana to celebrate the magnificently restored building. The ceremony was emceed by Navarro County Judge H.M. Davenport, and featured federal and state officials who commended the THC’s courthouse program for preserving Texas’ significant landmarks. The rededication program was followed by an open tour of the courthouse and cookies provided by the local Collin Street Bakery, a THC Texas Treasure Business Award recipient. TEXAS HISTORICAL COMMISSION

About 200 miles to the northwest, the fully restored Throckmorton County Courthouse received similar accolades at its rededication in March 2015. More than 150 people attended the ceremony in Throckmorton, which included a program with state and local officials, a meal on the courthouse lawn, and an evening street dance. The Italianate-style Throckmorton County Courthouse is a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, State Antiquities Landmark, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The restoration project returned the interior and exterior to their original 1890 appearance, thanks to a THC grant of nearly $2.4 million matched with approximately $400,000 from Throckmorton County and its residents. County officials worked with Left: The Navarro County Courthouse was rededicated in July 2016. Above: Komatsu Architecture Throckmorton’s County Courthouse was of Fort Worth, and rededicated in March 2015. hired KBL Restoration as general contractor overseeing 40 Restoration of the Navarro subcontractors—from specialists County Courthouse’s exterior began in plaster restoration to The Steeple with repairs to the glazed terra-cotta People, a fabricator of metal cupolas. cornice, followed by restoration of the The transformation, undertaken clock face and clay roof tile repairs. A over a three-year period, included significant project was replicating the reconstruction of the cupola and copper Lady Justice statue, reportedly roof and the removal of an exterior removed from atop the entry pediment addition. Doors, windows, and interior as a donation to the war effort during finishes were restored to their original World War II. Reconstruction of appearances and paint colors. H the side balconies and a decorative plaster proscenium arch in the To learn more about these and district courtroom provide a dramatic other THCPP-assisted courthouses, impression for visitors. visit Navarro County received a THCPP planning grant in 2010, enabling them to hire the Georgetown firm 1113 Architects to produce construction documents for the project. The THC awarded a subsequent construction grant exceeding $5 million to complete a full restoration executed by general contractor Phoenix I of Dallas. The county contributed over $5.5 million as a match, approved through a bond election.



Remember San Felipe! THC Breaks Ground on New Museum to Honor Pivotal Texas Revolution Site By Heather McBride THC Senior Communications Specialist or understood as others in the chronicles On a foggy fall day last October, of Texas history, including the Alamo San Felipe de Austin State Historic and San Jacinto. The new museum will site, a Texas Historical Commission change that by telling the story of this (THC) property, held a ceremonial historic site.” groundbreaking and capital campaign To increase public awareness of the kick-off by announcing plans for a new colony’s history and significance, the museum and visitor amenities at the site. THC is developing a new museum along More than 200 supporters and with an orientation center, exhibits, friends heard State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, map plaza, outdoor interpretation, and State Rep. Leighton Schubert, THC education programs focused on the site’s Chairman John L. Nau, III, and THC history and archeology. Executive Director Mark Wolfe speak In 1823, Stephen F. about the significance of the site and Austin—“the Father of Texas”— future plans for it. In addition, over secured land grant contracts 100 fourth-graders from nearby Stephen with the Mexican government F. Austin Elementary School were to bring families (known as the on hand to enjoy programming “Old 300”) to form a colony about the site’s history and ongoing in southeast Texas. San Felipe archeological investigations. de Austin became a major hub On that day, the Friends of the for commerce, government, Texas Historical Commission launched and diplomacy and was the a $5.3 million capital campaign for site of the first immigration the construction of a state-of-the-art land office, postal service, and museum at San Felipe de Austin. The early schools. state has committed $5.2 million to this When the Alamo project, and the THC is requesting an fell, Sam Houston’s army additional $2 million from the state in the biennium, leaving approximately $5.3 million to be raised from philanthropy. “San Felipe de Austin, founded in 1823 as the headquarters of Stephen F. Austin’s Colony, played a pivotal role in events leading up to the Texas Revolution,” More than 100 fourth-graders helped celebrate said John L. Nau, III, a ceremonial groundbreaking for San Felipe THC chairman. “This de Austin State Historic Site’s new dramatic story is not museum and visitor amenities. nearly as well known WINTER 2017


retreated toward San Felipe. Local militia evacuated the residents and burned the town to the ground on March 29, 1836, then defended the river crossing against Santa Anna’s invading army. Weeks later, Texas independence was won at the Battle of San Jacinto. While San Felipe de Austin’s prominence lasted only 13 years (1823–1836), nearly every significant character and event of this era of Texas history is connected to this frontier outpost. The THC and the Friends of the THC are very appreciative of the leadership of the campaign’s honorary co-chairs, former Gov. Mark White and Sen. Kolkhorst. The campaign committee includes community leaders from Austin County, Houston, Dallas, and Central Texas, as well as Friends board members from across the state. “I am thrilled with the commitment from this committee, and am confident that with their leadership and guidance we will achieve success in our efforts,” said Lareatha Clay, president of the Friends of the THC. H San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site For more information about the San Felipe de Austin museum campaign, please contact Anjali Zutshi, executive director of the Friends of the Texas Historical Commission, at Anjali.Zutshi@thc., or 512-936-2241. For information about site history or to plan a visit, call 979-885-2181 or go to The site is open daily from 9 a.m.–5 p.m.



Linden and Buda Join THC’s Main Street Program

The Texas Historical Commission (THC) recently designated Linden and Buda as 2017 official Texas Main Street cities. The communities officially entered the program January 1, becoming the 88th and 89th designated participants. “The Texas Main Street Program was one of the first statewide coordinating programs when the national effort was rolled out in 1981,” said THC Chairman John L. Nau, III. “Today, Main Street is recognized as a valuable local economic development tool for communities.” The Main Street Program stimulates private sector downtown reinvestment, and helps retain, expand, and recruit businesses, while also creating new jobs in Texas. Participating communities have generated almost $3.4 billion in overall reinvestment into their historic downtowns, and created more than 35,000 jobs and 8,900 small businesses. Local Main Street programs receive a wide range of services and technical expertise from the THC, including design and historic preservation, planning, economic development, organizational management, and training. For more information on the Texas Main Street Program, contact State Coordinator Debra Drescher at 512-463-5758 and H

The THC recently accepted two communities into its Main Street Program. At left is Linden’s Cass County Courthouse. Above is an 1898 building in downtown Buda that will become part of the city’s Main Street district.


The legendary Chisholm Trail will be honored throughout 2017 as part of its 150th anniversary celebration. The THC is participating by producing a special Chisholm Trail mobile tour, available for free download at Visitors traveling the modern-day trail can use the mobile tour to experience what it was like for the rugged cowboys of the cattle-drive era. From the end of the Civil War until the mid-1880s, tens of thousands of cowboys rode trails from Texas to Kansas railyards. These drives laid the foundation for Texas’ successful cattle industry, and helped elevate the state out of post-Civil War poverty. The tour highlights heritage destinations in Texas with stories of iconic trail topics such as drovers, barons, ranchers, chuck wagons, cattle rustlers, and vaqueros. To learn about commemorative events throughout the year, see the Chisholm Trail 150th Anniversary Facebook page. To access the video, audio stories, and hundreds of images in the mobile app, visit H TEXAS HISTORICAL COMMISSION


Do you enjoy the articles featured in The Medallion? Do you have any suggestions for new ideas in the magazine? Please share your feedback with us via an online survey. To participate, go to H



Organizational Sustainability CHC Research Reveals Importance of Revitalizing Partnerships By Amy Hammons County Historical Commission Outreach Coordinator County Historical Commission (CHC) Outreach Program staff member Candice McClendon spent several months researching why some CHCs thrive while others struggle from year to year. Expecting that answers would be tied to recruitment and retention, she spoke with CHC chairs across the state about effective methods for engaging appointees. Instead, McClendon discovered the differences between healthy and strained CHCs has less to do with appointees and more with organizational diversity. Her research shows that the key to CHC success is understanding how to partner effectively with a wide variety of organizations. High-performing CHCs foster partnerships that open doors to bigger and better opportunities within their shared communities. Maintaining ongoing giveand-take between partners sustains an organization from year to year despite economic and population variability. The Medallion is published quarterly by the Texas Historical Commission. Address correspondence to: Managing Editor, The Medallion, P.O. Box 12276, Austin, TX 78711-2276. Portions of the newsletter that are not copyrighted or reprinted from other sources may be reprinted with permission. Contributions for the support of this publication are gratefully accepted. For information about alternate formats of this publication, contact the THC at 512-463-6255. The Medallion is financed in part by a grant from the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. All of the agency’s public programs and activities are operated free from discrimination on


Many CHC members may be thinking, “We partner all the time— that’s not a problem for us.” However, they may have to look more closely at these following questions: Who is helping plan events? Who provides the manpower?

Who is your guaranteed audience? Most CHCs use appointees to satisfy each of these needs. the basis of race, color, national origin, age, gender, or disability. Any person who believes he or she has been discriminated against should write to Office of Equal Opportunity, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C. 20240. The Medallion is available online at medallion. If you would prefer to receive The Medallion electronically instead of through the mail, please send your name and address to You will be notified by email when each new issue is available on the THC website and will no longer receive a printed copy.


The average CHC may check the partnership boxes on annual reports, but its project descriptions often reveal a one-man show, or in this case, oneorganization show. Many CHCs partner with other history-related organizations, and these partner memberships are made up of CHC appointees. This type of partnering doesn’t diversify your activities nor does it expand your audience. In contrast, there are some CHCs that report project descriptions which list a wide variety of partner organizations that enhance activities by supplying what the CHC cannot accomplish on its own. In return, the CHC provides that missing ingredient to its partners’ events. CHC Outreach’s priority for 2017 is to explore what healthy partnerships look like and how to cultivate a diverse partnership network. The first steps of our journey and the path we plan to take are described here: H

Our Mission To protect and preserve the state’s historic and prehistoric resources for the use, education, enjoyment, and economic benefit of present and future generations.


The Medallion Texas Historical Commission P.O. Box 12276 Austin, TX 78711-2276

P.O. Box 12276 • Austin, TX 78711-2276 512-463-6100 •

W H E R E O N E A RT H . . . I N T E X A S Know your Texas history? Put your skills to the test by identifying the pictured site! The first three people who correctly identify the location will receive a prize and be named in the next issue of The Medallion. Send your answer to: The Medallion, P.O. Box 12276, Austin, TX 78711-2276 or email to Limit one prize annually per contestant. Need a clue? This courthouse in the Texas Independence Trail Region was struck by a 1909 hurricane that destroyed the original clock tower and part of the roof. Answer to the photo from the last issue: The photo at left is Wichita Falls’ “Big Blue,” the former First Wichita National Bank building dating to 1919. The iconic downtown structure is undergoing upper-floor renovations, and now hosts the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame on its first floor. Congratulations and prizes go to the first three readers who correctly identified the site: Douglas James of Wichita Falls, Michael Uriniak of Wichita Falls, and Michael Smith, City of Wichita Falls Councilor at Large. Thanks to all who participated! H


The Medallion Winter 2017  

The Medallion is the official quarterly publication of the Texas Historical Commission.

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you